Safari Rally has inched closer to regaining World Rally Championship (WRC) status after its listing in the 2020 pre-calendar pending the final draft.
The meet was dropped from the WRC calendar in 2003 and efforts to recover the elite status have been tasking.
This year’s edition is set to be a Candidate Event where motor sport governing body the FIA will give or deny the green light for Kenya to return to the top global circuit.
Kenya Motor Sport Federation president, Phineas Kimathi told SportPesa News that the development was expected following the signing of an agreement between the WRC Promoter and the Ministry of Sports and Heritage in Paris last year with a view of the classic African fixture returning to the calendar in 2020.
“We signed a three year deal with the promoter running to 2022 and we were expected to fulfill conditions, the last which will be holding the Candidate Event this year. What is the most important thing for us is to ensure all those are met,” the retired local rally ace who starred in the Safari in the mid 90s stated.
“This is work in progress and there is no time we were not slotted for 2020. Being in the pre-calender for me is not new and what is critical is for us to get it right. The Candidate Event is the last one,” Kimathi clarified.
The Safari, which was last part of the WRC is due to take place as a candidate event in 2019, when the FIA and WRC Promoter will observe it.
Its return to the high table of rallying will be sealed if it meets ‘high level standards in key areas such as safety and organisation,’ the WRC press release stated.